Call for unity to end violence against women
Izah Azahari

WOMEN in Brunei have experienced significant developments in various aspects – academics, literacy rates and professions.

The Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Othman revealed this yesterday at the International Women’s Day celebration, organised by the Community Development Department at Dewan Digadong of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports yesterday, which was graced by His Royal Highness Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim as the guest of honour.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Gender Agenda: Reaching Momentum”.

Datin Paduka Hajah Adina highlighted that according to the 2011 statistics, women’s literacy rates have increased by 9.1 per cent in comparison to 2001.

Women made up 65 per cent of those graduating from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA), and Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB); and 40.9 per cent of the country’s workforce is made up of female employees, where 51 per cent of the total number of employees work in the public sector, filling up 29 per cent of the senior positions in Division I and 60 per cent of all positions in Division II in the government sector. Furthermore, they also play a very important role in the business sector.

However, the deputy minister added, with all the achievements, it is also sad to see that women are the major victims of crime, abuse, social phenomena and poverty.

Therefore, in line with the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day celebration set by United Nations, “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”, the public needs to be unified in ending violence against women.

During the event, the Community Development Department organised a ‘Great Women Seminar’ which focused on motivating women as a continuation of the first stage celebration held on March 9.

The seminar delivered by Ahmad Rosli bin Ahmad Balia from Syarikat MSP Internasional Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, is hoped to help women to recognise their own potential and build up their self-confidence in order to strengthen their identity as individuals with quality and high integrity. The seminar is also aimed at polishing the roles and responsibilities of women in guiding, educating and developing their families and the community towards a better life.

The one-day seminar saw about 500 participants comprising government officers, Brunei Darussalam’s Women’s Council Association (MWNBD), Social Welfare Council (MKM), and Women’s Business Council (WBC), as well as members of the public.

Also present were the permanent secretaries and deputy permanent secretaries at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports; heads of department; directors; along with senior officials from the ministry and the departments under it.

The International Women’s Day is celebrated every March 8 each year globally to show appreciation towards the advancements and achievements of women, as well as to increase awareness on the importance of gender equality in the development of the nation and country. - Borneo Bulletin (27 March 2013)